Adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe
Jan loves lemon curd, so a while ago I made some with Meyer lemons. It worked out so well that I have made it a couple of times. It is really tasty, but it does not last or keep long.
Recently, I had a though—If lemon curd, why not lime curd? It was an easy substitution. It turned out very nicely as well.
Yesterday, I was going to make some more lemon curd when I saw four small oranges that my sister-in-law had brought. I thought—Why not? It turned out to be a good choice.
Note: How many oranges and eggs you use depends on their size. For a large navel orange you may need only two. Large eggs from Safeway are much smaller (and more expensive) than large eggs from Trader Joe’s. If you use the smaller large eggs you may need to use four.
Many recipes for fruit curd discussed the difficulty of straining out the egg whites. If you do not cook the curd exactly right, bits of the egg whites would cook into unsightly white bits. The first recipe I tried was from Fine Cooking and I have never had any such problems.
Their technique was to cream the butter and sugar. Then they beat in the eggs—I use an electric egg beater. This technique breaks apart the proteins of the egg whites into tiny and separated bits that bind with the butter fat to prevent them from clumping back together. The secret is to blend the eggs into the butter and sugar long enough to let this happen.
Note: The Fine Cooking recipe calls for you to put the curd into a bowl covered with plastic wrap to prevent a “skin” from forming. This recipe produces about 2-3 cups of curd and I usually put it into 8 oz. canning jars. If you decide to go with jars, sterilize them while you are waiting for the ingredients to come to room temperature.
Tasting Note: This curd came out tasting like an orange creamsicle.
Karl’s Orange Curd
7 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3 large eggs
4 small oranges, zested and juiced
2 Tbs. grated orange zest
1 cup +1 Tbs. sugar
¾ cup fresh orange juice
1. Set the butter and eggs on the counter and let them come to room temperature, about one hour.
2. Zest four oranges with a micro plainer.
Tip: This will produce about two tablespoon of zest.
3. Put the orange zest in a small bowl and add the sugar. Mix well, breaking up any clumps of zest, and set aside.
4. Juice the oranges (about 2-4) and measure out ¾ of a cup. Set the measuring cup aside.
Tip: The original recipe called for only ⅔ of juice, but I found that by boosting the sugar, butter and juice just a bit I came out closer to three whole eight ounce jars of curd when I was finished.
5. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 minutes.
Tip: I found that mixer could not break up all of the lumps of butter. Halfway through, I took a fork and mashed the butter bits into the sugar and then continued mixing.
6. Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one egg at a time.
Tip: Mix the eggs in for two minutes on medium high between eggs. You want to break up and separate all of the bits of protein in the whites.
7. Beat in the orange juice and continue beating for 2-4 minutes, until most of the juice in incorporated into the mixture.
Tip: Stop beating and push the mix out of the way, if there is still a lot juice puddled in the bottom of the bowl, keep beating. When the free juice gets down to about a quarter of a cup you are done.
Note: The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
8. Pour the mix into a medium, heavy-based saucepan. Start cooking the mixture over low heat until starts to look smooth.
9. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly with a spatula, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
Tip: Constantly scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. You do not want any hot spots or bits sticking, where they may get over cooked.
Note: Never let the mix come to a boil! This would cause the eggs and butter to “break” and you would end up with a flavorful mess. Adjust the heat as necessary.
10. Cook the mixture until well thickened and it sticks to the back of the spatula.
Tip: Fine Cooking says to cook it to 170° F on a thermometer, but I prefer to go by eye. I cook the curd until it “looks right.” Stirring will leave a trail as the curd thickens and you will come to recognize when it is thick enough.
11. Remove the orange curd from the heat and transfer it to a bowl or prepared jars.
Tip: This is more of a spreadable egg custard, not a preserve. Do not leave it out for too long and use it up quickly. Even cooked, egg dishes can develop salmonella.
Note: The curd will thicken further as it cools and will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.